“Nepal is a poor nation and its rural inhabitants are unlikely to have access to electricity—less than 1/3rd of them do, according to the United Nations Develeopment Program. Expansion of the conventional power grid is unlikely in the near future. It’s already so strained that power outages are common in urban centers, and major resources would be needed to connect remote communities in mountainous terrain.
Meanwhile Nepal’s electric demand is growing at some 7 percent a year. Those without power suffer health problems from cooking with dirty fuels and a lack of medical facilities, limited educational opportunities, and stagnant economic growth. Rural residents have long burned biomass, dung that might have been used as crop-boosting fertilizers or trees, the loss of which causes erosion and produces carbon emissions.
But the Government of Nepal’s Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) is administering a micro-hydro program aimed at building community-operated plants that can produce up to 100 kilowatts of power. (Even the smallest conventional hydro dams product 100 times that much). International organizations including the World Bank, and United Nations Development Program (UNDP) help fund the program under the auspices of Renewable Energy for Rural Livelihood (RERL), which aims to amplify earlier successes in bringing small hydro power to hundreds of people, village by village.”
Read more: National Geographic